As an artist, our careers can always be a bit precarious. We often rely on ever-changing circumstances, and success can be perched on a very shaky ledge, however, no amount of balancing in uncertainty prepares you for the change of a global pandemic.
For some artists, lockdown is a well needed breathing space, where they can take a break that they might not have thought feasible in other circumstances. For other artists, it’s plummeting into an anxiety-inducing black hole. For those who rely on gigs for earning and sustaining a name for themselves, it can be a frightening situation to find yourself in. On top of that, music releases and promotions can be burned out or halted altogether. Bands seem to be in an especially strange position- If all of the band members live in different homes, sustaining some sort of musical connection with the outside world is difficult (live-streaming from different homes is harder than it looks and not always feasible).
A common conversation that has been swirling around the news and social media is that this will be an important time for healing, where people will value art and artists more than ever. The notion is true- art heals and comforts people in their lowest moments. Social media has been full of wonderful people sharing their art for people to enjoy, it has also been full of people who may not make art for a living taking the opportunity to reconnect with their inner artist and do some healing of their own.
Many artists fall between the gaps as far as government help is concerned, and while offering up art for free has been a wonderful healing tool, this work is also an artist’s livelihood. Some artists will be struggling to make ends meet right now, and if you’re enjoying their work (and have some spare cash), check out if you can buy their music or merchandise. We have come to often expect art for free, and although it is a time where it is much needed, it is also a time when some artists will need your support more than ever.
There are many more elements that makes lockdown a restful or stressful time for artists. While we are all finding our own ways to adjust, I decided to note some ways that you can take your music online that you might find helpful.
Live Stream Gigs
Social media platforms have the option to live-stream gigs to anyone, anywhere in the world. This is a fun way to do what you love and connect to fans and music lovers.
Things to remember:
1. IT’S LIVE- don’t forget that you cannot edit your mistakes or go to the bathroom (you could but i’m not sure that’s a great idea). Roughly prepare what you want to sing and what you want to say.
2. Live-streaming quality is not always great. Practice first on a private account to check if the video lags or the sound/image quality is poor. People aren’t expecting stadium quality, but you want to be happy with how you present yourself as an artist and brand.
3. If the quality is not up to scratch, you can always pre record a live gig. This gives you the advantage of sharing on all social media platforms at the same time, and the option to re-share.
There are services where you can monetise your work. Patreon allows you to offer fans a subscription or one off payments to your work. You can upload exclusive music (or other) content for fans to enjoy online.
As mentioned previously, art at a time like this art seems more important than ever. While you may be in a position to share your work for free, you may also be struggling financially. It is very important to understand that you are entitled to still earn a living, even in a time like this. You can do your part in the healing, but don’t forget your own wellbeing in the process. It is also important for artists who may be more financially stable to remember this- while you may be able to rest and share music for free, others are not so lucky. If an artist is asking for donations or putting a price on their work, we must all respect that everyone’s situation in this global crisis is unique (and everyone’s business is their own).
Write (or don’t write)
They say that hard times make great music, and this might be the time where you write your best material yet. A quiet room with no distractions can be the perfect place to get creative. It’s also a good time to experiment with new sounds and techniques without the pressure of getting it right or a potential deadline. On the other hand, you might be feeling a million miles away from writing or just enjoying doing nothing, in which case, don’t worry about it! Chill out and listen to other artists who inspire you (healers need to heal too, you know).
Social media- Connect with Fans
You might not be feeling up to creating or performing at all. This is a time where many will be experiencing burnout, anxiety, depression among other mental health challenges. If you are one of those people, you can keep connected to your work in other indirect ways. One of those ways is connecting with your fans. You can post about your day, or just ask a question about how your fans are getting on, this can help remind you that there are people out there who value your work and i’m sure they’ll appreciate the chance to connect with you.
Get Off Social Media
Maybe social media in general is too much for you. Take a day off (or as many as you like)! One thing I’ve come to notice is that lockdown has created a strange time warp. Everything and nothing is happening. What I mean by this is while we all do our best at home, there really is only so much you can do as an artist. Taking a breather from social media will not end your career, and while it may look like some people are making leaps and bounds, most of us are on an awkward hold until lockdown loosens its grip.
We All Need Some Healing
The most important thing we can do is support one another and practice non-judgement in a time like this. Some artists can afford to share their work for free, others cannot. Some artists are finding this to be a time to be creative, others are struggling or taking a well-needed rest. There is no right or wrong way to be an artist in a pandemic. You might feel like the world needs your art right now to heal, but you are also part of that world and will need some healing too. Trust how you’re feeling and do what you can. In the meantime, remember that lockdown will not last forever.
Article written by Honor Logan (twitter.com/honorlogan3)